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PIA of Ohio Letter Leads Taft to Call for Review of Ads in Vehicle Registration Renewals

Ohio Governor Bob Taft (R) says the inclusion of an ad for a major insurance company in mailings from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles...
February 8, 2006

Ohio Governor Bob Taft (R) says the inclusion of an ad for a major insurance company in mailings from the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles was a "very troubling" practice, and he has asked the bureau to conduct a review. Taft told reporters on Thursday, February 2 that  he was "very surprised" to learn of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles' decision under a contract with Imagitas, a Waltham, Mass. marketing firm. PIA appreciates Governor Taft's swift responsiveness on this important issue. 

PIA of Ohio objected to the practice in a letter to Gov. Taft (R) from PIA of Ohio President Tom Wagner. The letter sparked media coverage, including an article that appeared in the January 26, 2006 edition of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.  

Gov. Taft noted that since Ohio requires vehicle owners to carry insurance and regulates the providers, he was concerned whether the ads might send a message that there was a "preferred insurance" company. "That's an impression we don't want to provide to Ohioans. I'm very concerned about that, and that particular option, I don't think, is a good one."

An article in last Saturday's Columbus Dispatch notes PIA of Ohio's role in bringing the issue to the attention of Gov. Taft, also quoting PIAOH Executive Vice President George Haenszel making it clear that "It has nothing to do with Allstate," the company that bought the ads. "We just think it's highly inappropriate for a state agency that enforces insurance law to carry an advertisement for an insurance company." A similar article noting PIA of Ohio's call to the governor appeared in Monday's Cleveland Plain Dealer.

Taft Questions BMV Mailings (Columbus Dispatch 2/4/06)

Taft Asks BMV to Reconsider Insurance Ads (Cleveland Plain Dealer 2/6/06)

Group Calls on Taft to Stop Ads With Auto Renewals (Cleveland Plain Dealer 1/26/06)